SEATTLE - This Cardinals’ surge of rewriting their sorry history has now written off Seattle.
Kurt Warner completed 32 of 44 passes for 395 yards—his franchise-record fourth straight 300-yard game—and J.J. Arrington scored a career-high two touchdowns as Arizona held off the desperate Seahawks in a 26-20 victory on Sunday to essentially knock Seattle from its NFC West throne.
The 37-year-old veteran completed 19 of his first 21 passes, while Anquan Boldin, who had 13 catches for a career-best 186 yards, and Larry Fitzgerald— 10 receptions, 151 yards—roamed free all day in Arizona’s first win at Seattle since 2002.
The Cardinals are 7-3 for the first time since 1977, when they were in St. Louis. Arizona can clinch its first division title since 1975 next week when it hosts the Giants and San Francisco plays at Dallas.
Arizona led 26-7 entering the fourth quarter and had an interception of Matt Hasselbeck in the end zone by Karlos Dansby. But Dansby fumbled on his return and left tackle Walter Jones recovered at the Seahawks 11. T.J. Duckett scored on a 1-yard run to cut the lead to 26-13.
Hasselbeck was 17-for-29 for 170 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in his first game in six weeks after a bulging disk in his back caused nerve issues down his leg.
On the second play of Arizona’s next drive, Warner got hit by Brandon Mebane. Darryl Tapp recovered the fumble at the Cardinals 14.
Hasselbeck converted a fourth-and-3 with a scramble behind an unintended block by an official. Then Duckett scored from the 2 and suddenly it was 26-20 with 9:41 left.
Arizona then drove to Seattle’s 42, but Warner was hit by blitzing Lofa Tatupu into an intentional grounding penalty. That dashed any thought of a long field goal by Neil Rackers, who had already made all four, and gave the ball back to the Seahawks with 5:38 remaining.
But Seattle chose a bad time for its first three-and-out drive of the game.
The Seahawks got the ball back at their 28 with 2:05 left and no timeouts. On the first play, Hasselbeck’s pass was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, his second pick of the day.
Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett then mockingly kicked toward the Seahawks’ bench from the middle of the field, effectively booting Seattle from its four-year reign of the division.
Seattle’s loss handed exiting Mike Holmgren the first 2-8 start in his 17 years as a head coach. Holmgren spent one of his last games as coach pacing the sideline alone and throwing his arms disgustingly toward the field. He has already announced he will take a sabbatical from football in 2009.
Seattle’s 31st-ranked pass defense has taken one all season.
It had no answers for Warner and his physical, fast receivers. The Cardinals had all the answers, including getting Fitzgerald mismatched on linebacker Tatupu at times.
The game changed decisively at the end of the half. Josh Wilson revived the Seahawks by stepping in front of a stumbling Jerheme Urban, intercepting Warner’s pass and returning it 58 yards to the Cardinals 19. Hasselbeck turned that into an 8-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Morris on a screen play to cut Arizona’s lead to 13-7.
But Seattle left 57 seconds and three timeouts for Warner. He and Fitzgerald set up a 54-yard field goal by Rackers as time expired. The Cardinals jubilantly ran into the locker room, and Seattle’s only momentum until its late, desperate flurry was gone as quickly as it arrived.